March 28, 2008

Harry Canary Irony

After I wrote yesterday's Harry Canary post I realized I missed a major bit of irony about the story. Ben, my son-in-law police officer, called me after he read the post. Ben, Noelle, and Hailee moved into a house on the street I grew up on next door to the old Tabor abode. My granddaughter is growing up next door to the house where Harold grew up.
Ben discovered that Harold was apparently paroled out of prison and is now living on Portland Avenue in downtown Louisville. Ben said he should go down where Harold is living, knock on the door, and when Harold answers, brandish his taser and say "I have a message from Barry McClain for you" Ben would light up old Harry and he'd fall on the floor yelping. Ben would never do that of course, but if he did Harold would most likely enjoy it and ask him if he could come by and do it everyday.

March 27, 2008

Harry Canary

“You wanna play chicken?” said Harold Tabor. He looked like a scarecrow with hair sticking out in all directions, wearing torn, dirty clothes. I was a clueless kid and had no idea what Harold was talking about. I imagined walking around with my hands in my armpits, elbows moving up and down, bobbing my head back and forth. There were a knot of kids on their bicycles in front of the Tabor house.

The Tabor’s house looked like it had been vacant for a long time but in fact was occupied by a family of four: a mother and her three children. The front yard was mostly dirt, scattered with weeds. Very few people had seen the backyard; the grass as high as my nine-year-old eyes. My little brother imagined jungle creatures living there and maybe a small tribe of pygmies with blow darts thrown in for good measure. Much later another son was born and it was rumored that Mama Tabor gave birth to him in the bathtub.

Once the kids grew to know Harold they gave him a wide berth when seeing him skulking around the neighborhood. Some would even hide. All the kids called him Harry Canary, although never to his face. Harold was a mean natured violent kid who seemed to always have an endless supply of firecrackers in his pocket. My brother and I once came home speckled with cow manure because Harold had stuck a firecracker in a cow-pie.

“What’s chicken?” I said. Harold explained “we ride our bikes at each other and the first one to turn away is chicken.” I’m not sure why, but I agreed. We rode our bikes out onto the street about 100 feet apart. Facing each other, Harold said “GO!” Off we went riding toward each other, Harold furiously pumping the pedals as hard as he possibly could. At the last second I turned away and Harold turned into me. Harold had wanted to crash from the start! We were lying on the street with our bikes on their side, the wheels slowing spinning on the bent rims. Harold got up with a smile on his face.
He seemed satisfied with the way things turned out.

A 2006 mug shot of Harry Canary, aka 130759.

March 24, 2008

Hailee Grace Lunte and Tristan Clark Cook

Almost eight years ago at 200 East Chestnut Street, on the third floor, my first grandchild was born five weeks premature. The first time I laid eyes on her she was laying on her back in an incubator, arms outstretched, in a nest of thread sized IV tubes. It seems impossible that May eleventh will be her eighth birthday. Although Hailee, and her cousin Tristan, have no blood of mine flowing through they're veins, my love for them makes them my grandchildren in every sense of the word.

About a month ago I asked Hailee if she was a girly-girl or a tom boy. She put her hand vertically just to the right of her nose and said "I'm this much girly-girl and that much tom boy." To me she's the smartest, cutest, most wonderful grand daughter in the world, and certainly the best baby ever to roll out of the third floor at 200 East Chestnut Street.

Hailee on Easter Sunday

Tristan will be three years old this May twenty eighth, another impossibility. Tristan was born at Norton Suburban East at the Women's Pavilion, a name which I'm sure the Norton Suburban PR people think of as marketing genius but it sounds ridiculous to me. What would a men's hospital wing be called? The Men's Road House?

The first time I saw eleven pound six ounce Tristan, Abby was holding him, a huge grin on her face. I'm not sure what she was happier about, the tough pregnancy being over, or her new baby son.

After Easter Sunday services I went back to get Tristan out of the nursery. He saw me and raised his arms for me to pick him up. He buried his head in my shoulder and patted me on the back.

Tristan waiting for his Easter Eggs to be hid.

March 23, 2008

Cecil B. DeMille Over and Over Again

Tonight on television they're showing, yet again, "The Ten Commandments". This film, made in 1956, was the last film made by Cecil B. DeMille. It is one of the highest grossing films ever made. DeMille was known, back in the day, for making flamboyant films and being a bully and tyrant on the set. The special effects were spectacular for the time but now are almost laughable. My favorite scene in the movie is when Charlton Heston as Moses, dressed in a flowing robe, sporting a long beard and hair shot through with gray, slowly raises both arms outward, his long staff in hand and says "behold His mighty hand!". The Red Sea parts in cheesy fashion and God's chosen people walk through the shadow of the valley of the parting waters.
I've had a fantasy which involves changing into a robed Charlton Heston, walking into a certain office at work, my face glowing righteously, spreading my arms, and saying "behold His mighty hand!". A pillar of fire appears, incinerating everything in the office. I change back into Barry McClain and walk out never to be messed with again at work.

March 18, 2008

Lemming Court

I legally drove to the East End Government Center which is spitting distance from where I disregarded the traffic control device for my evening court date where my police officer son-in-law, Ben, told me to plead not guilty. A sheriff was taking the names of the unfortunate downtrodden and checking them off his list. There were about twenty listees outside the court room waiting for the doors to open. I heard one man say his name was "hardhead". Surely I misheard that. I can't imagine going through life as Barry Hardhead. If I were in court with a surname like that it would be to legally change it, maybe to something like Barry Cruise or Barry Barrymore. The doors open and I'm getting nervous with panic tinged scenarios running through my head. I kept saying to myself to plead not guilty like Ben told me to so he could possibly get me wrangled out of it in downtown court at a later date that this court would assign.

The unlucky file in. The judge is a grayed man in his late 60's and proceeds to give a short explanation of what the evening court is all about and the longer he talks the more nervous I get. I wish he would just shut up and get on with it. He didn't say his name but I imagined it to be Roy Bean. One thing he said was that in his experience people tended to make their plea the same as the previous person did, like lemmings. He said he sometimes referred to evening court as lemming court. I smirked to myself, "those poor idiot lemmings".

Judge Roy calls the first name and the clerk said the person is not present. Judge Roy scowls "issue a $500 bench warrant for his arrest". He brings his gavel down BANG! I jump in my seat. Damn, it's no wonder the prisons and jails are overcrowded if they can take you to jail for a traffic violation. They're going through the list and every person who is there pleads guilty and either wants to go to traffic school or just pay the fine and have points taken off their drivers license. Of course I did misunderstand Hardhead. His name was "Roger Hardetz" and he pleads guilty too.

"Barry McClain" says Judge Roy. By this time I'm so nervous and intimidated I can scarcely understand what's going on. Judge Roy says "you've been charged with disregarding a traffic control device and driving without a license. I'll dismiss the traffic violation, please show the clerk proof of your valid driver's license". I show the clerk my brand spanking new license. Judge Roy said "Mr. McClain, you should always have your driver's license with you when driving". I explained that I did have my license that night but unbeknownst to me, it had expired. There's my first admission of guilt to his honor. Judge Roy said "how do you plead?" and, lemming like, I replied "guilty". Since Judge Roy dismissed the traffic violation I thought the fine wouldn't be that much. WRONGO! the court clerk hands me a slip of paper on my out which explains I must pay the fine of $179.00 either downtown at the Hall of Justice or mail it in by April 23rd. If the fine is not paid by that time the court will issue a bench warrant for my arrest. BANG!

I'm an idiot lemming, show me to the nearest cliff so I can jump.

My Little Helper

Last Sunday I started back to work on our basement bedroom and bath. For two weeks we've been painting, repairing drywall, and adding trim work. I wanted to finish it and was in a hurry, a dangerous combination when combined with finish carpentry. I finished hack sawing off the second toilet seat bolt which had apparently welded themselves to the toilet over time. I victoriously waved the toilet seat to my wife on my way to tossing it in the trash outside.

My daughter, Abby, pulled up to drop Tristan off before going to see a passion play at a nearby mega-church. Tristan's in full tornado mode, having just had his nap. My wife, Charlene, said wouldn't it be fun for Tristan to go with us to Lowe's to pick up a new toilet seat and more mill work? Barrels' full of monkeys fun, I thought. While there, you could hear the saw cutting lumber for custom orders. Tristan had to find out what that was all about so I took him over to the saw. The closer Tristan and I got to the saw the sound was ear splitting. They weren't cutting lumber, they were cutting laminated shelving. Tristan starting getting alarmed, saying he was scared, so we walked away. Now he wanted to see it again. We were like a pair of yo-yos. Thankfully they finally stopped and we got our stuff and left.

I set up shop on our deck, circular saw, table saw, etc. I strapped on my macho tool belt. Tristan was fascinated by all of this, at the same time twirling around on the deck, wanting to do everything at the same time. "let's swing papa", "let's watch my movies papa", "let's walk papa". I said papa's busy Tristan and you can watch! I go downstairs to make measurements and come back out to cut the millwork what seems like two dozen times and everytime Tristan says "I'll stay out here and wait for you papa". I cut with the saw and the end piece drops to the deck and everytime Tristan says "uh-oh papa, you broke it". He was having a grand time just watching me.

To Tristan, I'm the greatest person walking the face of the earth. I love him to death but by the time I had made bunch of little mistakes from hurrying through my work I was ready to punt, pass, and kick his little hiney across the road. It takes alot of patience with a child and I admire Abby, who handles Tristan with ease.

I put away all my tools of destruction/construction, clean up, and join Tristan and Charlene to watch Barney and eat popcorn. It doesn't get any better than this.

Tristan helping Charlene